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The Dancer's Notebook

Jazz for Beginners

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Want to start Jazz? It's not too late, read the following for some good pointers:

For beginners taking jazz, here is a few hints:

• You must have a lot of energy to dance jazz. Most jazz dances are modern, which means a lot of movement!

• You must pay attention to your instructor, especially if you are one of those people who have trouble picking things up fast. No talking, no matter what dancing you do. It’s rude!

• Also if you are someone who is afraid to speak up, I must insist you ask questions or you’re going to hurt your chances of getting better.

• You can not be stiff while dancing, or show facial expressions that show you don’t want to do it, you’re frustrated, or you’re thinking about a million other things. Your facial expression must match to what you’re dancing to.

• Not to mention you will need the proper shoes for jazz. Some people don’t always dance with them during their jazz class, but come recital time or competition every one has to be wearing the same exact color of jazz shoes, so you might as well get comfortable in them and break them in.

• Also if you make a mistake, keep dancing. It’s never okay to stop in the middle of a dance or even warm ups. If you’re in the habit of doing that when you mess up, I suggest you break that habit before recital and competition comes.

• Don’t just practice your dance in the dance studio. Practice at home and whenever else you have a chance to practice.

• Another helper for beginners is to ask their instructor to give them a copy of the song they are dancing with, so when they practice, there steps will be intone to the music, and when they come back to class they won’t be thrown off.